The Kerala High Court has cancelled the order passed by Special NIA Court Kochi granting bail to Thwaha Fasal in a UAPA case for alleged Maoists links. The Court has however, taking into consideration his young age and his different degree of involvement, has not revoked the bail granted to Alan Shuhaib, who was arrested alongside Thwaha on November 2019.
The High Court which has directed Thwaha to surrender before the trial court has also given direction to the NIA to complete the trial within a year.
The petition, which was filed seeking cancellation of the bail pleas of Alan and Thwaha pointed out that the NIA court has granted bail to the accused without evaluating the evidence against them.
The accused had earlier told the Court that the investigating agencies were unable to present enough evidence to impose provisions of UAPA on them on the basis of the case. The court on September 9,2020 had granted bail plea to both of them on conditions.
On November 1, 2019, two Kerala students, Alan Shuhaib and Thwaha Fazal were arrested for alleged terrorist links under various sections of the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act). In 2019, the Kozhikode police picked up Alan and Thwaha from Pantheeramkavu because they were sharing certain pamphlets “under suspicious circumstances”. The officials also reported the presence of a third person — Usman — who ran away as the police approached. After the initial search, the police found pamphlets relating to the Maoist party and decided to charge the youngsters with various sections of the UAPA. “Controversial and Maoist literature” were seized when their houses were raided by the police. When the youngsters had approached the Magistrate for bail, their application was denied because their relation to the banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist) was “evident” from the seized materials.
In September, during the trial, the NIA court observed that “the context of dissent has to be taken into account”. Adding that the right to protest is a constitutional right, the aspect of them protesting cannot be, without the proper context, be accepted as prima facie true. The Court also commented on the suspects’ possession of “questionable literature”. Mere possession of questionable literature (the court notes later that the literature is available in the public arena) doesn’t amount to strong evidence of philosophical resonance, the court said. The court also classified the documents into subtexts and mentioned, “Possession and reading materials on Communist ideology and Maoism doesn't prove anything adverse to the accused. Being a Maoist is not a crime, though the political ideology of Maoists does not synchronize with our constitutional polity.”